Home » The government promised to ban online gambling ads. Nothing has happened – ABC listen

The government promised to ban online gambling ads. Nothing has happened – ABC listen

Mark Kempster
I don’t understand why it’s taken so long with such bipartisan support that all the recommendations in the report had, there was 31 different recommendations, and basically the government haven’t addressed any of them when they promised when they came into power that they would address all parliamentary inquiry findings within six months. So it’s extremely frustrating. It angers me a lot. I’m in a good place now with my addiction, but I know there’s people who I’m supporting trying to get out of addiction who have relapsed because of the advertising they’ve got to put up with every day. So it’s, yeah, it’s got into a point where it’s, it’s unbelievable that it’s still out there, to be honest.

David Reilly
Mark, I can understand it. I get them constantly. And like I say, for me, it’s just an inconvenience. I don’t like the tone of the ads, though. I don’t like the sort of, well, the lifestyle that they’re trying to sort of sell to me. But how does it make you feel when you see those ads?

Mark Kempster
It angers me. Like the perfect example of this was yesterday. We had the Big Freeze at the G yesterday. It was a fantastic event. It was a family event. It was promoted as such, and it is such an awesome thing they do. And they raised over a million dollars yesterday. And the first thing you saw as soon as that Big Freeze finished was an ad for Sportsbet with Nathan Brown popping his head up on TV, telling you about 17 different multis you can put on, when there would have been hundreds of thousands of children, let alone recovering gambling addicts like myself, who at the moment, we, speaking for a lot of us now, we can’t watch live sport anymore. We’ve got to watch everything on delay because we’re afraid of what we’re going to see. And it shouldn’t be that way, just because we love sport and we still want to watch sport, but we are put into a position now where we are choosing not to be able to watch it because we’re worrying about our own lives when we’re trying to do the right thing. So that to me yesterday was just this perfect example of why this, what we have in this country now with our regulations and laws are utterly ridiculous and they need to change.

David Reilly
So what then is the next step? What’s your message been to lawmakers?

Mark Kempster
Well I caught up with Andrew Wilkie and Tim Costello from the Alliance for Gambling Reform on the weekend. It’s bipartisan support across nearly all demographics of, not just politics, but all demographics of Australians. I think it’s more than 65 to 70 per cent that every time the surveys go out about gambling advertisers, they need to be banned. So it needs to come in that there’s no reason why, well no logical reason why this hasn’t happened yet. The only reason that all of us can see is that the government are cowering to the lobby groups for the sports bet companies and they are putting their own self-interest and probably the next election ahead of the actual duty of care they had to the Australian public when they were elected to look after the most vulnerable of society, which at the moment they’re not doing. So it has to happen. The report is sitting there. It is such an easy thing they can recommend. We’re not saying to ban gambling. Gambling is okay. If you want to go have a bet, that’s fine. But you need to be able to protect the people who need protecting and at the moment the government aren’t doing that. So the ban on gambling advertising needs to come in as quick as possible can.